The Tiny List of Modern Footballers That Have Played For Both Manchester United and Liverpool
Argentina’s Superclásico. El Clásico in Spain. The Derby della Madonnina in Italy. The Old Firm Derby in Glasgow. Fierce local rivalries are one of the juiciest things about football. For fans, matchdays don’t get bigger or better than Derby Day. And this weekend sees arguably the most intense local derby in the Premier League… Liverpool Vs. Manchester United.
Each club has their own closer-to-home city rivalry, of course. But historically, the beef between this pair eclipses any hatred of Everton or Manchester City. A similar level of success and parallels between the two clubs and cities has ensured that the rivalry remains as bitter as it is hotly contested. And, let’s face it, the Liverpool/United derbies have served up some pretty enthralling games down the years, haven’t they?
When there’s needle between two football clubs and sets of supporters, it often makes moving between the two clubs a little tricky (think Luis Figo getting a pig’s head chucked at him on his return to the Nou Camp in a Real shirt). But such is the dislike between United and Liverpool that barely any players have played for both clubs, even with moves in between. Especially in the modern era.
Let’s take a look at the few players brave/daft enough to have turned out for both The Kopites and The Red Devils…
Liverpool: 1996 – 2004 (297 appearances + 158 goals)
Manchester United: 2009 – 2012 (49 appearances + 17 goals)
For a chap who isn’t exactly renowned for his personality, Michael Owen is a man of many faces. Nowadays, he’s the rather dull – and frequently wrong – TV pundit with the monotonous voice and Alan Partridge-style soundbites. To Stoke City fans he’s that short bloke that sat on their bench for a season. To the Bernabéu faithful he’s that short English bloke that sat on their bench for a season. But to Liverpool and United supporters? He’s a bit of a legend.
Well, in the case of ‘pool fans? He used to be a bit of a legend. 118 goals in 216 goals from a local lad secured that. But five years after his departure – post-stints at Real Madrid and Newcastle United – Owen signed for Sir Alex Ferguson. And the red half of Merseyside collectively groaned.
At Old Trafford, Owen was crocked for a significant amount of his time there. But still proved to be an effective substitute on occasion. And United fans will always remember his 96th minute winner against Man City. But still never forget he played for their old foe.
Manchester United: 1959 – 1964 (47 appearances + 10 goals)
Liverpool: 1964 – 1967 (9 appearances + 2 goals)
The Beatles blared from every wireless. Women all wore miniskirts. Flower power was rife. England were about to dominate world football. The year was 1964 and an inside forward called Phil Chisnall signed for Liverpool. From Manchester United. And he’s the still the last player to have moved directly between the two sides. Some 53 years ago. Back when your star signing would wow fans by costing their new club a whopping £25,000.
“It amazes me that no player has moved since” Chisnall told The Liverpool Echo a couple of years ago. “But the rivalry was not the same then. Liverpool were champions in 1964, but they were only promoted in 1962 and United were a much bigger club.”
Manchester United: 1989 – 1995 (277 appearances + 28 goals)
Liverpool: 1997 – 1999 (81 appearances + 17 goals)
Midfield enforcer and future underwhelming manager Paul Ince’s career began all the way back in 1989. But it was to be between 1992 and ’95 that he’d enjoy his most successful spell as part of the awesome Man United team that dominated the Premier League’s early years. As the new breed of academy players broke through, the tough-tackling central midfielder found himself squeezed out of the starting XI at Old Trafford and – unusually for an English player – committed to a move abroad.
Two years at the San Siro with Inter Milan and Ince was back in a red shirt in the North West of England. Only this time it was Liverpool Football Club that were employing him. He’d always equip himself well, but the late nineties wasn’t exactly a golden era at Anfield and two years later Paul Ince swapped for another red shirt. He left for Boro as one of the very few players to have played for both United and Liverpool.
Manchester United: 1982 – 1983 (1 appearance + 0 goals)
Liverpool: 1987 – 1991 (175 appearances + 59 goals)
When you think of the diminutive and tricky little Peter Beardsley, you think of silky skill and stunning goals. Mostly in Newcastle, England or Liverpool shirts. You’d even picture him perhaps in an Everton kit. But very few people will remember the one game he turned out for Manchester United in the League Cup back in the 1982/83 season.
United had splashed out a not inconsiderable £250,000 at the time to secure the young man’s signature from the Vancouver Whitecaps. And, after failing to break into the first team, ‘Quasimodo’ (as he’d come to affectionately be known later on) went back to Canada. Eventually, he’d moved to Liverpool and become a legend.
See? We told you there weren’t many… Such is the vitriol between the two North West clubs. Which we’re sure you’ll see demonstrated Saturday lunchtime.
Why not join us for the game down your local Rileys? Kick off is 12.30pm. See you there.